Midway through Andy Davidson’s The Hollow Kind (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), I realize there’s no turning back. I’m an impatient reader, a lover of brevity, and yet this novel of generational trauma and vast manipulative evil has seduced me with the comforting familiarity of its musical Southern cadence. I can feel the mud of the Georgia clay sucking at my shoes. I need to go slow. It’s humid here, and an itchy seed that’s been planted in my imagination is sprouting, reaching, sending out roots that will only be satisfied with grasping the totality of the massive eldritch horror at the center of the book, the center of the land. I try to resist immersion, but the sonorous beauty draws me in deeper, deeper . . .
Look. Listen. Walk slowly with me through the vines and brush of this lush and precisely crafted novel as the creature comes near: “Lonnie drew closer and saw that the old man’s beard was not really hair but moss, and the old man’s eyes were not really eyes but wet river stones, and his skin was not skin but the light pulpy flesh of a longleaf pine, its bark skinned away. For the first time, Lonnie thought he might be dead.”
Be careful, fellow reader: he might be neither.
Read my interview with Andy Davidson at Southwest Review.
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